COVID-19 Freight Update – 03/27/2020
COVID-19 has severely disrupted many segments of the economy – but while we are continuing to prioritize the health and wellbeing of all stakeholders, Shiptransportal remains 100% operational and prepared to serve current and future customers.
As you may already know, our phones and emails continue to work perfectly without any interruption, and we are looking for ways to make communication easier and faster for those working remotely and their customers. To help our customers easily track their freight in one place, both Managed and Brokerage, we are giving you access to the Control Tower solution at no charge through May 1st.
Our internal systems were all built to support working remotely. We have split our workforce between remote and corporate. We can each be reached via our main office phone line, email or even chat from our website. We will be available to help coordinate shipments for all customers.
Stay at Home or Shelter in Place strategy shifting to Isolate and Operate strategy for essential businesses.
As you can imagine, this crisis has dramatically impacted the transportation environment in the United States and around the world. We do see businesses changing their processes to adapt to the CV-19 with an Isolate and Operate strategy to minimize the risk of exposure. Below are a few key updates and recommendations:
1) Domestic Less than Truck Load Shipping – There are some new limits being placed on inside deliveries and guaranteed delivery services. Otherwise, LTL seems to be operating efficiently with minor interruption. Drivers have been given the discretion to determine what is a safe delivery location and what is not. Therefore, if the driver refuses to deliver after we called and confirmed delivery with the consignee and the carrier’s dispatcher, we cannot do anything about it. We will not be able to force the carrier or dispute charges like storage, detention, etc. While we have not seen this happen yet, I expect it is possible we will.
2) Domestic Truck Load – Supply chain disruption is contributing to an increase in tender rejects and thus an increase in spot market rates. According to DAT, truckload rates are up in 63/100 key lanes that they track. Inbound rates to major consumption markets and those with large number of DC’s are increasing the fastest.
Outbound rates from Laredo/McAllen have jumped as MX imports increase. Major hubs in TN have seen increases of .25/mile.
Try to arrange bookings in advance to avoid paying a significant premium for same day pickup requests. Please confirm the consignee is open to receive the freight before you load the truck.
Maintain your shipper of preference status. You will want to be considered shipper of preference as capacity tightens more after the first containers start to arrive from China and produce hits.
We’ve seen more well deserved meme’s to #thank a trucker than I can ever recall. We’ve seen the public join in and offer praise and free boxed lunches, but drivers still need your help. Please continue to provide hot water, soap and clean facilities to drivers. With many of the restaurants and public facilities closed, they need you to help them help you!
Here are 3 things anyone can do to say thanks (from Jesse L. Douglas, Truck Driver):
- Stick your hand out the window and wave or give us the thumbs up.
- Turn your hazards on, let them flash 3 times then cut them off.
- Install a CB radio in your car and say “thanks big truck (or company name on side of truck)” and hope he’s got a radio in his truck and it’s on (rare these days).
3) Air Freight – Passenger flights in and out of Europe / Asia have been drastically reduced. As a result, many passenger airlines are offering dedicated charter flights by turning their aircraft into cargo-only planes.
4) Ocean Freight – Freight is still moving, but port hours are being impacted. Port of Savannah had its busiest month ever last month, up over 17% same month previous year. Even so, they are suspending Saturday gate receiving through 04/04. Other ports like Baltimore, Miami, Seattle, Long Beach have also announced changes to their operating schedule. RORO volumes are way down in Charleston, due to decreases in demand from German auto manufacturing relationship in SC.
Port operations in China are resuming, but volumes to east and west coasts from March to May are expected to be down about 15%. This should put some downward pressure on rates in short term and increases financial pressure on ocean carriers. Especially those that also provide cruise services. Keep the ocean carriers’ financial health in mind when selected your provider. You don’t want to be apart of what we saw when Hanjin became insolvent.
Consider Implementing a COVID Policy
Many manufacturers and distributors are implementing COVID policy as it relates to “visitors” being allowed into their facilities. As it relates to trucking, most are asking the drivers to fill out a questionnaire based on recommendations from the CDC and WHO.
For example, many manufacturers are implementing a policy along these lines:
Only business critical visitors are permitted into the facilities – this can include drivers. Drivers are asked to disclose whether:
- They have traveled to level 2 or 3 countries (per CDC) in the last 14 days;
- Been in contact or cared for someone diagnosed with COVID in last 14 days, been in close contact with anyone that has traveled to any countries listed by CDC travel page; or
- Experienced flu-like symptoms in last 14 days.
If drivers fail to fill out the form or select yes to any of the questions, you may choose to not allow them inside the facility. Most should be loaded or unloaded, but not allowed inside.
Stay at Home or Shelter in Place Updates. (Thank you to our DLS partners for providing us with daily updates!!!)
MAKE SURE THAT YOU CONTACT THE SHIPPER OR CONSIGNEE TO INSURE THEY ARE OPEN FOR SHIPPING AND OR RECEIVING, IF THEY ARE IN ONE OF THESE AFFECTED AREAS.
Virginia – Governor has declared that non-essential business close for the next 30 days
Minnesota – Stay at home and limit movement unless for essential items this goes into effect on Saturday 3/28/20
Wisconsin – Safer at home and limit non-essential travel went into effect on Wednesday 3/25/20
Washington – Stay home, stay safe, travel for only essential items went into effect on Wednesday 3/25/20
Colorado – Stay home unless absolutely necessary goes into effect on Thursday 3/27/00
Texas counties that have followed Dallas counties lead – Harris (Houston), Bexar (San Antonio), Collin (Northern Suburbs of Dallas), El Paso, Tarrant (Fort Worth Area), Austin (E of Houston), Hunt (NE of Dallas) – appears the new counties have gone in effect yesterday or Tuesday night.
Harris County Zips – http://www.ciclt.net/sn/clt/capitolimpact/gw_ziplist.aspx?FIPS=48201
Dallas County Zips – https://www.ciclt.net/sn/clt/capitolimpact/gw_ziplist.aspx?FIPS=48113
Collin County Zips – http://www.ciclt.net/sn/clt/capitolimpact/gw_ziplist.aspx?FIPS=48085
Atlanta (GA) County Zips – http://www.ciclt.net/sn/clt/capitolimpact/gw_ziplist.aspx?FIPS=13121&stfips=&state=ga&stname=
Saint Louis (MO) County Zips – https://www.ciclt.net/sn/clt/capitolimpact/gw_ziplist.aspx?zip=631
Kansas City (MO) County Zips – https://www.ciclt.net/sn/clt/capitolimpact/gw_ziplist.aspx?zip=631
Dallas County (Only)
St Louis, MO
Kansas City, MO
We’re 100% Operational and Ready to Serve!
At Shiptransportal, we remain fully operational and committed to serving our customers. Please don’t hesitate if you have any questions or would like to learn more.